U.S. Muslim Brotherhood Funded Islamist Arms Network In Early 1990's

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The New York Times has released a document from the German government indicating that U.S. Muslim Brotherhood contributed funds in the early 1990’s to the Islamist charity known as theThird World Relief Agency. According to the report, the following contributions were made to accounts controlled by TWRA:

  • Ahmed Tonji $597,000 (based on historical currency values)
  • Islamic Circle of North America $184,000

As detailed in a Hudson Institute report, Dr. Totonji was born in Iraqi and was active in U.K Muslim student organizations before he came to the U.S. in 1963 to study for his PHD in Petroleum Engineering In January 1963, Dr. Totonji, along with other seventy other Muslim students, assembled at the University of Illinois and formed the Muslim Student Association (MSA) of the United States and Canada. Dr. Totonji envisioned a “worldwide network” of organizations patterned after the MSA that later became the International Islamic Federation of Student Organizations (IIFSO) in 1966 and which he served as the second Secretary-General. Sometime after receiving his PHD, Dr. Totonji appears to have moved to Saudi Arabia and at some point received Saudi citizenship. He says he assisted in the establishment of the Department of Petroleum Engineering at King Saud University, Saudi Arabia. Dr. Totonji also served as the Deputy to the Secretary General of WAMY from 1973-1979. and said that he left WAMY headquarters in 1982. Dr. Totonji was instrumental in founding both the International Institute of Islamic Thought and the SAAR Foundation, a Northern Virginia Islamic charity that was thought to have been funded largely by the Al Rajhi family of Saudi Arabia. Both organizations received substantial attention in 2002 when many of the organizations linked to SAAR were raided by federal authorities in an investigation which continues until this day.

The Islamic Circle of North America (ICNA) is a less well-known part of the Muslim Brotherhood network in the U.S., generally thought to be closely tied to the Jamaat-e-Islami organization of Southeast Asia, itself known to be allied with the Muslim Brotherhood. ICNA is particularly close to the Muslim American Society and the two organizations have been holding joint annual conventions for many years.

A report by the International Assessment and Strategy Center discusses the role of the Third World Relief Agency (TWRA) in receiving funds from a variety of Islamic radicals, possibly including Osama Bin Laden, and in supplying arms to various Islamist causes:

Al-Turabi’s pan-Islamist efforts bore immediate fruit in the Bosnia war, the first major post-Cold War European conflict. The vehicle was the Third World ReliefAgency (TWRA), a charity based in Vienna, Austria. The charity, which has served as a template for radical Islamist operations around the world, was founded in 1987 by a Sudanese named Fatih el Hassanein and he served as chairman. His brother, Sukorno Ali Hassanein, served as treasurer. Most of other officers were also Sudanese.Fatih el Hassanein was granted a diplomatic passport by Sudanese government, enabling him to travel freely across the region without being searched or questioned.The public role of the organization was to encourage Islamic renewal in the former Soviet bloc countries of Eastern Europe. In reality, with the help of the Brotherhood leaders in Sudan and Europe, it channeled hundreds of millions of dollars to Bosnian Muslim fighters and to the Brotherhood structure of Sudan. A forensic audit of three TWRA accounts in Austria, carried out by German intelligence at the request of the International Criminal Court of the Hague, concluded that the accounts “expose a far-reaching network of individuals, organizations and companies which indicated intensive and frequent contracts in the entire Islamic world.” TWRA in essence acted as the funding mechanism to buy hundreds of millions of dollars worth of weapons for the Bosnian Muslims, who were under siege by the Serbs. This attack galvanized the Islamic world, and several thousand Arab fighters from Afghanistan and elsewhere rushed to Bosnia, along with other volunteers in what was viewed by Islamic groups of almost every stripe as a defensive jihad, fully condoned by the Koran. The Islamic world, led by Saudi Arabia, but joined by Iran and other nations, rushed money and weapons to help the Muslims circumvent the international arms embargo on Bosnia. The United States and most European countries, unwilling to lift the embargo, nevertheless were unwilling to enforce it either….TWRA immediately showed what a united Islamic front could accomplish if they set aside their theological differences. From 1992 to 1995, when it was shut down by Austrian officials, some $400 million flowed through the organization’s three overt bank accounts in Vienna including donations from a who’s who of Muslim radicals, al Qaeda supporters and, reportedly, Osama bin Laden. Several of donors would later resurface on the “Golden Chain” list of suspected major al Qaeda financiers. Investigators say that about half of the money was spent on weapons… much of the money came from Saudi Arabia, often in suitcases full of cash that were dropped off in the bank. Wael Julaidan, a Saudi who was later designated by both Saudi Arabia and the United States as a terrorist financier, deposited millions of dollars in the TWRA accounts, and withdrew money from them.

(Note: Some reports have cited the German report as evidence that the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA) also made contributions to the TWRA. However. The actual transaction reads “Dyewood Center ISNA” and although the German investigators presumed that this referred to the Islamic Society of North America, it is more likely a reference to the Dyewood Islamic Society of N. America in Flint Michigan. The connection, if any, from the Dyewood Islamic Society of N. America to the U.S. Muslim Brotherhood is unknown at this time.)

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